New Species, Uncategorized

New Siren Species: the Reticulated Siren

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photo by Pierson Hill

A new species of siren was discovered in southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle. There were rumors about an undiscovered large, spotted salamander that lived in the area. A few samples of the species was recovered back in the 1970s but people thought they were just bizarre Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina). The species was re-discovered by former Herper of the Week, David Steen Ph.D., when he was trapping turtles on a military base in Florida. He noticed that it was different from other sirens he has seen. Steen and other researchers (Sean P Graham, Richard Kline, Crystal Kelehear) performed genetic tests and found it to be its own species. They named it the Reticulated Siren because of its color pattern.

One of the interesting facts about the new Siren is its size. Its a large salamander, with average size of the specimens collected being around a foot long but some were two feet long. It is one of the largest animals discovered in North America in over a hundred years. You are probably wondering how a two foot long salamander hasn’t been discovered until now. Sirens are a fully aquatic species and live in murky waters, making them hard to see. With the discovery of the Reticulated Siren, the Siren Family, Sirenidae, there are now 5 different species but who knows? There could be even more hiding.

You can read the full article here – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0207460

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Frog of the Week

Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

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photo by Jimpaz

leastconcern
Common Name: Fowler’s Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
Family: Bufonidae
Location: Canada and the United States
US Location: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia
Size: 3.75 inches

The Fowler’s Toad is named in honor after naturalist Samuel Page Fowler, who formed the Essex County Natural History Society, which became the Essex Institute and merged Peabody Museum of Salem to form the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The Fowler’s Toad is found mostly in the eastern United States and barely in southern Canada. They breed during summer, from June to August, and the farther south they are, the later they breed. They can lay between 2000 to 10000 eggs in a clutch.

Frog of the Week

Cranwell’s Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cranwelli)


leastconcern
Common Name: Cranwell’s Horned Frog, Chacoan Horned Frog
Scientific Name: Ceratophrys cranwelli
Family: Ceratophryidae
Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil
Size: 5 inches

The Cranwell’s Horned Frog is a common frog in the pet trade. They have been bred to be a variety of colors but are naturally dark green and brown. They are often referred to as a Pacman Frog because of its resemblance to the video game character. They are sit and wait predators, where they will sit in one spot for hours until something moves in front of them and they snap up and eat it. They eat pretty much any animal that they can fit in their mouths.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Rob Denton

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Each week a “Herper” of the Week is chosen. These individuals come from all sorts of backgrounds but they all have one common interest – “herps” (reptiles and amphibians). Hopefully, you will learn about them and their important work.

This week’s herper is Dr. Rob Denton, soon to be Assistant Professor at the University of  Minnesota – Morris starting next term. Dr. Denton earned his Ph.D in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology from THE Ohio State University in 2017. The last year he has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Dr. Denton research focuses on amphibians especially the unisex salamanders of the family Ambystomatidae. These all female salamander populations are found in the Eastern United States. They reproduce by stealing sperm from other male species of salamanders. Rob is also working on completing the genome of the African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus). 

Frogs of the World

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)

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photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson

leastconcern
Common Name: Amazon Milk Frog or Mission Golden-eyed Tree Frog<
Scientific Name: Trachycephalus resinifictrix
Family: Hylidae
Location: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname,  and Venezuela
Max Size: 3.5 inches for females, 3 inches for males

The Amazon Milk Frog is a fairly large species of tree frog found in South America. They are commonly found in the pet trade now. They are named the “Milk” frogs because they release a milky secretion when threatened by a predator. For breeding, the Amazon Milk Frog lays their eggs in hollow trees that hatch the very next day.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

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leastconcern
Common Name: Eastern Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
Family:  Ambystomatidae
Location: United States, Canada, and Mexico
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin
Size: around 8 inches

The Eastern Tiger Salamander is the most widespread salamander in North America, found from southern Canada down to northern Mexico, but it is hardly seen. The Tiger Salamander usually spends most of its life underground in burrows. The best options to see a wild one is either during / after rain or when they are breeding in water bodies. There are some Eastern Tiger Salamanders that are fully aquatic and neotenic, meaning they kept their larval features such as gills.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Greater Siren (Siren lacertina)


leastconcern

Common Name: Greater Siren
Scientific Name: Siren lacertina
Family: Sirenidae
Location: United State – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia
Size: 3.2 feet or 98 cm

The Greater Siren (and all Sirens) is found in the Southeastern United States. It is the largest of all the sirens, with some reaching over 3 feet long. Just like all sirens, they lack hind legs but they still retain their gills into adulthood. Not much is known about the biology of the Greater Siren because of their secretive nature as they hide in burrows during the day and are slightly more active during the night.

 

 

Frog or Toad

Frog or Toad 5/1/18

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Can you tell if this is a frog or a toad? Try to make a guess below! If you need some tips read this. Also if you want to know what exactly are the differences between frogs and toads, read this! Answer will be posted tomorrow!

Frog of the Week

Túngara Frog (Engystomops pustulosus)

photo by Brian Gratwicke

leastconcern
Common Name: Túngara Frog
Scientific Name: Engystomops pustulosus
Family: Leptodactylidae
Location: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago,  and Venezuela
Size: 1.4 inches or 35 mm

The Túngara Frog is found throughout all of Central America down to South America. The frog is often studied because of their complex mate selection. Females don’t always select the “best” mate choice. You can read more in this article.

Túngara Frogs breed year round in whatever body of water they can find. Males call to the females while floating in these bodies of water. Once the female selects a mate, they move close to shore and make a lay their eggs in a foam nest that they make. These foam nests help protect the eggs from drying out.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Northern Spectacled Salamander (Salamandrina perspicillata)

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photo by Luca Tringali

leastconcern
Common Name: Northern Spectacled Salamander
Scientific Name: Salamandrina perspicillata
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Italy
Size: 1.3 inches for Snout to Vent, 3.3 inches for Total Length

The Northern and Southern Spectacled Salamander used to be only one species until they were split in 2005 due to genetics. The Northern Spectacled Salamander lives in the northern and central parts of Italy while the Southern Spectacled Salamander lives in the southern part of Italy.

The Northern Spectacled Salamander is a terrestrial species of salamander that is active during the night. They can live up to 15 years. When a predator approaches the salamander, they curl into a ring to show off their red bellies. This shows off that they are not good to eat.